Difference Between CA and MBA

The basic difference between CA and MBA is the pedagogy. On one hand, the CA course offers specialized expertise in the field of accounting and finance, while the MBA degree offers a more holistic overview of the business and various functions within an organization. Often students find themselves in a state of dilemma while deciding between CA and MBA, and hence this article will try to pave the way for an informed decision.


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CA vs MBA Infographics


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CA vs MBA – Comparative Table

Organizing BodyThe Institution of Chartered Accountant of India (ICAI)Offered by a number of institutes within and outside India
PatternNeed to clear 3 levels  – CPT (Common Proficiency Test), IPCC ( Integrated Professional Competence Course), and the Finals. CPT is a course of 2-year, IPCC is 1-year and the finals is also a 1-year course.It is either a 1-year Executive MBA degree or a 2-year regular MBA degree divided into a number of semesters.
Duration of Course4 years, if completed all levels in the first attempt1 year (Executive)

2 years (Regular)

SyllabusFocuses on financial accounting and reporting, business environment and concepts, auditing, and regulations.Focuses primarily on accounting, economics, operations, human resources, and marketing.
Exam feesFees are in the range of $900 to $1,000, which includes both registration and examination.Fees differ a lot from one institute to another. Most of the reputed institutes charge in excess of $20,000.
  • Public Accountant
  • Government Accountant
  • Management Accountant
  • Internal Auditor
  • Analyst, Financial Advisor
  • Marketing Manager
  • Human Resource Manager
  • Operations Manager
DifficultyIt is very tough to crack and very few candidates are able to complete all the 3 levels.It is very difficult to join the Ivy League colleges. Otherwise, aspiring students can join different institutes based on their competence.
Exam dateNext exams will be conducted from 21st January 2021 onwards.Different colleges have different exam windows, usually from November to January.

CA vs MBA – Which is Better?

In order to decide which is a better option – CA or MBA, we need to understand that both of these courses can lead you to a successful career in their own unique ways. While it might be easier to get an MBA from a Tier II or Tier III institute, but to get an MBA from an Ivy League college is as difficult as a CA certificationCA CertificationCA exam conducted by ICAI (Institute of Chartered Accountants of India) is conducted for aspiring Chartered Accountants. The entire curriculum is divided into three level i.e. Foundation, Intermediate, and Finals. These exams are conducted twice a year. read more. As such, the best of either of these professionals courses are one of the highest-paid professionals in the country. So, the right to the question “Which is better” is whichever suits your career aspirations.

Skills Obtained

After completion of CA certification, a candidate is able to approach financial accountingFinancial AccountingFinancial accounting refers to bookkeeping, i.e., identifying, classifying, summarizing and recording all the financial transactions in the Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Statement. It even includes the analysis of these financial more as well as auditing in a methodical way, gains a more in-depth understanding of the socioeconomic conditions, and becomes an excellent communicator. On the other hand, an MBA graduate acquires leadership qualities, gains adept knowledge of business, learns how to handle pressure, and develops a strategic bent of mind.


The CA certification requires candidates to clear 3 levels of examinations coupled with three years of articles under a practicing CA. The entire course can be completed within a period of 4 years if the candidate can clear all the levels in the first attempt. On the other hand, enrolled candidates can complete a full-time MBA program in a span of 1 to 2 years depending on the choice of a degree program or business school.

Eligibility or Experience Required

An aspiring student who has completed HSC, graduation, or post-graduation is eligible for the course of CA. So, a wide range of candidates can take up the course. There are instances where students pursuing a graduation course also pursue CA simultaneously. On the other hand, MBA mandates completion of a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, the MBA degree is more useful for a candidate with some work experience, although this is not mandatory.


The syllabus of CA is very much focused on subjects that involve accounting and finance. An aspiring CA candidate has to study Financial Reporting, Financial Account Management, Accounting, Economics, Mercantile Law, Business Law and Ethics, Taxation and Tax Laws, Auditing, etc. On the other hand, the syllabus of an MBA degree covers both theoretical and practical aspects of the business. An aspiring MBA candidate has to study Financial Management, Financial Planning, Risk AnalysisRisk AnalysisRisk analysis refers to the process of identifying, measuring, and mitigating the uncertainties involved in a project, investment, or business. There are two types of risk analysis - quantitative and qualitative risk more, Operations Management, Human Resource Planning, Marketing Research, etc.

Career Opportunity and Salary

Some of the job role that a CA can land includes Internal Auditor, Public Accountant, Government Accountant, Tax Manager, Finance Manager, and Financial Consultant. On the other hand, an MBA graduate can easily fit in the mid-management roles of any organization. The average salary of most CAs and MBAs at the start of their career lies in the range of $10,000 to $15,000 per annum, while the top CA rankers and graduates from the Ivy League colleges can garner a much higher salary that can go up to $30,000 per annum or more.

Fees and Passing Rates

The cost of an MBA degree is multiple times that of a CA course. While a CA course can cost around $900-$1000, a degree of MBA from a reputed business school can easily cost in excess of $20,000. However, the fees shouldn’t be the primary criteria for the decision between a CA course and an MBA degree.

The CA exams are very difficult and some of the candidates are not able to clear the exams even after multiple attempts. On the other hand, the candidates who enroll for MBA invariably pass the exams. [Note: Only 10.2% of CA Final (Old) and 15.1% of CA Final (New) could pass the exams conducted in November 2019]

Exam Availability

ICAI has declared the dates for the CA exams for January/ February 2021 and it would be conducted from 21st January 2021 onwards. On the other hand, there are several entrance exams for MBA, such as CAT, MAT, SNAP, XAT, MAH CET, etc., and each exam has its own window that usually starts in November and continues till the following January.

CA vs MBA – How to Enroll?

One needs to complete HSC to enroll for CPT (CA) course, while the IPCC CourseIPCC CourseAccording to the guidelines established by the Institute (ICAI), there are several options for taking the IPCC Exam. There are seven subjects in all, separated into two groups of four and three subjects. You'll need 200 and 150 marks to pass a group, more requires graduation [use this link for registration at ICAI]. For MBA, one needs to complete graduation and then write any of the exams conducted by the top business schools.


CA or MBA, this decision is for you to make after understanding your strengths, interest, and direction you intend to give your career. I hope with the above information. You will be able to do so. All the very best :-)

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